Four years ago, VW Group Chairman Ferdinand Piech indicated the two marques VW's Skoda brand had to emulate: Rover and Volvo.
'We have already surpassed Rover and although we are not yet at Volvo's level in terms of safety, we equal them in quality,' said Vratislav Kulhanek, chairman of the board of management at Skoda Auto.
From when VW bought 30 percent of Skoda in 1991 until it reached full ownership in May 2000, the total investment in the Czech company has been close to E2.6 billion.
In 1991, Skoda built 172,000 units. Last year it built 435,000 units. While volumes rose steadily, revenues climbed even more dramatically in that period - from E500 million to E3.7 billion, showing how Skoda has steadily moved upscale.
In 1991, the Skoda range was three variations of the Felicia. Today, the range comprises two models, the Fabia and Octavia, across a total of five body styles.
Skoda is about to introduce a new flagship - but it won't be named Montreux as the concept car, shown at the Geneva show in March, was called.
'We are one of the three oldest car manufacturers in the world. We have nearly 10 million customers and we are an example of how a car company can complete a successful transformation from a local producer into a global player,' Kulhanek told the Automotive News Europe Congress.
In 1991, Skoda was exporting 26 percent of its production to 30 countries. Last year exports topped 82 percent of production and Skoda vehicles were distributed in 72 countries.
Kulhanek said Skoda's rebirth has three phases.
First, production and production quality was reviewed. Then a new product offensive began with the Octavia, and was completed with the Fabia. Now comes the third phase: the brand image consolidation, beginning with the production version of Montreux.
The core of the Skoda brand will remain 'top quality at attractive prices,' but Kulhanek said the new phase would add 'top positioning in customer values and elegant styling.'